WASHINGTON: Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula said on Thursday a U.S. air strike had killed the senior figure who issued the group’s claim of responsibility for the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, according to a report.
The SITE Intelligence Group quoted al Qaeda as saying in an online video that AQAP ideologue Nasser bin Ali al-Ansi was killed with his eldest son and other fighters in Yemen.
Ansi’s reported death suggests the covert U.S. drone programme against the Yemen branch of the global militant group is continuing, despite the evacuation of American military advisers from the country amid a worsening civil war.
Ansi, an ideologue and former fighter, had appeared in several of the group’s videos. In a message on Jan. 14, he said of the Jan. 7 attack in Paris that the “one who chose the target, laid the plan and financed the operation is the leadership of the organization”, without naming an individual.
A week later he called for lone-wolf attacks in Western countries like America, Britain, Canada and France, as such operations were “better and more harmful”.
In the Paris attack, 17 people, including journalists and police, were killed in three days of violence, including a mass shooting at the weekly Charlie Hebdo, known for its satirical attacks on Islam and other religions.